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From Mark Blackman <m...@blackmans.org>
Subject Re: HTTP and MPM support
Date Mon, 28 Jan 2019 23:18:35 GMT


> On 28 Jan 2019, at 23:00, Paul B. Henson <henson@acm.org> wrote:
> 
> On 1/28/2019 1:53 PM, Mark Blackman wrote:
>> https://perldoc.perl.org/threads.html#WARNING  Threads are discouraged in Perl these
days
> 
> Yes, that is indeed what the documentation says; however, there is a far cry between
"Perl is single-threaded by design and history and has no reliable support for threading"
and "use of threads is discouraged in perl".
> 
> Looking back to the original discussion that led to that caveat https://www.nntp.perl.org/group/perl.perl5.porters/2014/03/msg213382.html
a good summary of why it is there is:
> 
> "The patch came about because unmanaged expectations of support are causing social problems"
> 
> And further discussion about it https://www.perlmonks.org/?node_id=1107534 has a similar
insight:
> 
> "that this particular formulation is just smoke and mirrors to repel 'annoying newbies"
> 
> Then in this bug discussing the verbiage https://rt.perl.org/Public/Bug/Display.html?id=133021
a developer comments:
> 
> "The fact is that threads work, they are maintained, and they currently do not have any
bugs preventing their use."
> 
> Basically, perl threads are heavyweight, not lightweight, and use of non-thread safe
Perl code whether your own or in third-party modules will cause potentially nondeterministic
problems. The warning is basically there to scare away people who don't have sufficient expertise
to make it work and will likely come complain and ask for help with something the developers
don't want to have to explain over and over again.
> 
> Back when I was running DCE/DFS and maintaining the perl modules on top of that, I used
threaded perl heavily with no issues. As long as the mechanism of and caveats regarding Perl
threads are understood, and there is a justifiable reason to be using them rather than some
other construct, discouraged is not deprecated nor unavailable/unreliable.

"Threads are implemented in a way that make them easy to misuse." == "single threaded by design”
in my book, but your mileage may vary. I believe threads were retrofitted to Perl and I see
very little use of threads in the wild myself. Relying on threads in Perl with real-world
third-party XS modules that aren’t thread-safe is equivalent to unreliable. Base Perl might
be safe enough, but nobody runs real-world apps with pure Perl alone IME.

I am glad you made threads work well in production, but I suspect you’re in a minority.

- Mark




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